Thai Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha attends his first press conference held after receiving a royal endorsement as the leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) at Royal Thai Army Headquarters in Bangkok May 26, 2014. Thai Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday promised to appoint an interim prime minister to set up a cabinet, but did not give a timetable. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)
BANGKOK, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Thai army chief Gen Prayuth Chan- ocha has been approved by the Thai monarch as head of the National Council for Peace and Order which has staged a military coup to oust an elected caretaker government last week.
Gen Prayuth on Monday attended a ceremony for the naming of himself as head of the council at the army headquarters in the presence of navy chief Adm Narong Pipatanasai, air force chief ACM Prajin Juntong and former police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, all of whom had supported last Thursday's coup. The monarch's approval for Gen Prayuth as head of the coup junta was given on Saturday, an army source said.
However, he neither confirmed nor denied speculation that he will assume the post of interim prime minister but said he had not intended to keep powers with him for so long and that he had decided to stage the coup to end the six-month-long political conflict and street turmoils.
The council leader did not either say how soon an interim cabinet of ministers will be set up to run the country until democratic rule is returned to the people with a nationwide election.
Neither did he tell how soon the race to parliament will be held.
"There will be an interim prime minister and cabinet of ministers for the running of the country to which changes will be made. Everything in the country is being put forward," he said without elaborating.
The council head said he will focus on political and bureaucratic reforms as well as the acquisition and examination of executive powers.
Meanwhile, Gen Prayuth called on the public to stop taking to the streets to protest against the coup and members of the press as well as those in social networks to refrain from criticizing the coup junta.
"I am not arguing with anyone. Everyone should help me and not criticize me. Please have patience and self-restraint," he said.
Hundreds of anti-coup protesters peacefully gathered at Rajprasong intersection and Victory Monument and engaged in tense standoffs with army troops armed with guns, batons and shields on Sunday.
No violent incident was reported, however.
Meanwhile, the military-led council ordered 38 more people to report to the council at the army auditorium following some 200 others who had earlier reported, including former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, former premier Somchai Wongsawat and his spouse Yaowapa, who is Yingluck's elder sister, former cabinet ministers, ex-legislators, university academics and political activists.
That was in addition to dozens of anti-government and pro- government protest leaders who had apparently failed to compromise to end the political crisis and then been detained at army barracks.
While some have been allowed to go home after questioning by the military, others have been detained at "safehouses" inside the army barracks.
Thai army deputy spokesman Winthai Sivari confirmed Monday that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been released from detention by the army, reported the Nation online newspaper.
Thai military junta threatens to use martial court to prosecute offenders
BANGKOK, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The Thai military junta on Sunday threatened to use a martial court to prosecute offenders as the protests against the coup are escalating in capital Bangkok.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said people who commit crimes, including facing lese majeste charges, creating security threats and defying its orders, would be taken to the martial court. Full Story
Yingluck released by Thai military junta
BANGKOK, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Thai former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban and a number of other people under military detention have been released, local media reported Monday.
Yingluck was allowed to return home Sunday night from an army camp in Bangkok in an order issued by the National Council for Peace and Order, Bangkok Post quoted an army source as saying. Full Story